Upstream - The Newsletter of Incentive FM Group

Growing up Gracefully

I am the very lucky and proud father of two beautiful daughters. The eldest, Lily, is just about to turn thirteen and with that transition from child into teenager there is inevitably a change in how she acts when interacting with the world

The traits she used to show as a child are becoming exaggerated; the ability to negotiate vigorously and challenge decisions plus her desire to be first are evident in abundance, just ask her mother.

But the main difference I have seen is that I don’t need to, or she wont let me, tell how to do things. As with all of us, some of the ways she does things can be improved with a bit of advice or coaching but getting her to listen to her Dad is the tricky part. Her independence, based on ‘I know what I’m doing’ is without doubt the biggest change.

Just like Lily, the Incentive FM Group has also just turned thirteen and is showing the typical attributes and behaviours of a teenager. It can do everything it needs to do, most of them extremely well, but it still has the ability to learn and develop and to get better – we just need to accept we can.

Often we embed practices in our businesses that at the time of deployment are the best in the industry, but things change, and we should always embrace change as it is often for the better. Our job is to adapt to those changes and adopt new ways of working, improved practices and most of all accept the coaching and advice available. Engaging with the World One thing we must never do as a teenage business is go into the ‘grunt to talk’ phase that some teenagers enter. Other parents will no doubt recognise what I am talking about and you will have all seen Kevin the Teenager.

What has set our business apart from many competitors in our market over the early years is the amount of, and above all the manner of, engagement we have with our staff. Directors leading TUPE processes and taking real part in the running of contracts; Regional Managers on site every week not just to see the site manager or the client but to interact with the team. These are the attributes that our long standing clients and staff tell us sets us apart from the rest.

Incentive FM - Dover Harbour

This was brought home to me recently when I led a large senior management team to complete the transfer into the business of over 150 staff from G4S to IFM for the Port of Dover cruise services contract. Our team included me as IFM Group MD, Bruce McDonnell the IFM MD, Laura Phillips the Group HR Assc Director and another five senior managers from our business. It was vital that we didn’t just ‘go through a process’ to get it over with but that we truly engaged with the new talent starting with our business. We needed to use the opportunity to win the hearts and minds of the people who were coming to work with us as they will be the ones responsible for delivering an outstanding service to our client and their stakeholders.

We met some fantastic people who are now looking forward to being part of our business. It’s the most fulfilling and informative part of our job.

But just like teenagers, when things go against you there is no need to sulk, shut yourself away and not talk to anyone. What always amazes me is the lack of effort put in by our competitors to staff exiting a business. I’ve completed over 40 inward TUPE transfer processes in my time at Incentive but I have never known one of our competitors complete a group presentation for the exiting staff. They just let the exit happen and only communicate via letter or sporadic verbal communication at best. The staff transferring are left in limbo, don’t understand the reasons for change, how it will affect them and they lose respect for their former employer. What a way to go!

I am pleased to say that we don’t lose too many contracts but contracts do leave us from time to time and it is just as important we keep the hearts and minds of those staff leaving us as it is in a TUPE In process. One of my most memorable occasions at IFMG was the group TUPE out presentations we held at a contract we had for over seven years. It was emotional but the staff benefitted greatly from the information provided, felt more comfortable with the process and they remain loyal advocates of Incentive to this day, which can only be a good thing.

As I say to Lily, growing up is about learning to take the rough with the smooth. Things won’t always go your way and when they don’t you need to remain positive, talk it through, learn and change. As a Group we are now over 2000 staff and £50m turnover. We are growing up fast and we need to continue to learn and adapt, but above all we must communicate.

To Lily and Incentive FM Group – I’m very proud of both of you!

Martin Reed

Martin Reed
Managing Director
Incentive FM Group